Eph 6:19-24

Eph 6:19-24

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul loved to talk about Jesus.  Everywhere he went, he would find people to tell them about Jesus.  In the synagogue, in the open market place, or finding a place he could stand and preach.  It didn’t matter – Paul would preach and let people know the mystery of the gospel.  He was bold with the gospel at all times.

I want that kind of boldness.  My brother-in-law died a last week in a car accident.  He was bold for Jesus.  No matter where he was or who he was talking to, he would tell them about Jesus.  He would talk about the blessings of God.  He would ask them if they knew Christ.  There was no doubt he was a man of God, and that he loved the Lord, if you ever stopped  to talk to him.  You knew he loved the Lord.  Give me that kind of boldness – that I may always talk about Jesus!

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Another messenger from Paul, Tychicus, was sent to update the people on what was going on with Paul.  They knew he was in prison, but dd not know about his health, or his mood, or what was coming to him from the Romans.  They were concerned with how Paul was doing.  The people of Ephesus really cared about him, as he had planted the church there, and he was the one who led many of them to Christ.  Paul knew this, and wanted to make sure they knew he was doing fine.

People care about you, too.  I have been out of church now for almost a year due to the chemo and cancer I have been going through.  And my church has some mold in it, so I can’t go there for risk of getting sick.   People are asking all the time how I am doing, so my wife and the pastor keep the updated.  If you are a member of a local church, and you have not been lately, I would guess there are some who wonder if you’re okay.  They may not call, but they are thinking about it.  Make sure you attend regularly if you are able so people know you’re okay!

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul leaves with comforting words.  Peace, Grace, faith and love to all.  Paul was always concerned that  the people were well grounded in the things of God.  he desires peace in the church, that there will not be arguing, disputes or disagreements among thee brethren.  He wanted them to have love with faith – I like that combination!  Have love to one another, and have faith that love will return to you.  Never worry if someone may not show you the love you need – have faith it will come.  Love with faith!

Lastly, grace to all them that love Jesus.  Grace to all of you, my friends.  This brings an end to our study in Ephesians.  I have enjoyed going through this book,and I hope you have as well.  I am not sure what book  will do next – I am open for suggestions.  I am going to take a short break from this blog, and I will let you know through my other blogs when it will start up again

Thanks for reading!

Having Done All, Stand

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Take the whole armor of God.  It is important that we know each piece is securely in place in our lives if we are to take s stand for God.  If we try to stand without each piece in place, we could fall, because we will be left vulnerable.  Notice that Paul says having done all, to stand.  As we go through each piece, ask your self how securely they are in place in your life.  Have you put them all in place?  Have you done all you can?

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Stand with your loins gird with truth.  The loins are the area between your lowest rib and your hipbones, where a lot of vital organs are stored in the body, including the sexual organs.  When we speak of girding these with truth, we are of honestly assessing our diets and our sexual lives.  Are we walking in truth here so that you will not be swept away by the enemy when it comes to this vital part of your body?  Is truth covering these areas of your life?  Are you avoiding those things can cause harm to them?  For example, too much alcohol can destroy your liver.  Our sexual habits can cause us, and other people much harm.  They have in my life!  Truth must be maintained here – it is essential.

The breastplate, of course, covers the heart and lungs.  Our heart is so sensitive to the truth, and when trust is destroyed, t can take years to rebuild. When I destroyed the trust my wife had in me, it was a very long battle to get that trust back.  A wound in the heart is one of the most damaging, not only physically, but emotionally as well.  T=Righteousness must reign in our hearts at all times f we are going to stand against the enemy.  And our lungs bring in the breath of life.  We must bring in every breath with righteousness in mind, and do right to all with every breath we have.

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

At all times, we should be ready too share the gospel.  Wherever our feet may take us.  Be instant in season and out (2 Tim 4:2)  and be prepared give an answer for the hope that is within you (I Peter 3:15).  In he market place, on he street, in your workplace – no matter where you are – do you know your testimony well enough to give  it at an instant.  I am a big one on practicing what you will say if confronted with an opportunity.  I know God will give me the words, but here he tells us to be prepared.  I think it takes both to be ann effective witness.  Don’t get caught un[re[ared when the opportunity comes.

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

I used to fire darts at people all the time with my mouth.  I was good at it.  Sharp witted, II took every opportunity at put downs and funny, disparaging remarks.  I am so glad God took that out of my life when I got saved.  I think of that when I read this verse.  Our enemy just wants to hit us with a small dart so he can inflict a little pain, a little nudge in his direction.  But with faith on our side, we can deflect these darts.  They don’t have to affect us.  The shield of faith will take fiery darts and, as they stick into the shield, will put  out the fire so they cannot harm us.  This is a vital part of our defense, especially grouped with the other two items above.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The mind must be  protected at all times.  Our salvation is the key to this.  Remembering the price Christ paid on the cross for us is critical in keeping our mind focused on the battle.  It has already been won!  And if we feel like he enemy is getting the upper hand, the battle belongs to the Lord.  It is so essential that we never =forget the suffering servant, bruised, beaten and crucified for us.  he paid the price so that we could walk in victory.  Keep that always in your mind.

And the sword of the spirit, our only offensive weapon, the word of God.  How well do you know the word?  Do you read daily?  Do you study His word?D o you ask God to reveal truth to you when you read?  we need this offensive weapon, not only to defeat the enemies of our mind, but to keep ourselves walking with all the other elements of the armor.  The word must be instilled in us, and be constantly refreshed.  Be sure you are in he word regularly.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Never, ever think you can stand against the enemy without prayer.  This is the last item listed, but I believe it is the most important.  Paul said having done all to stand – prayer is part of having done all!  {raring always – always.  Always keep the communication with God open.  Keep your requests for others (supplication) coming to God all the time.  It is so essential that we are in prayer.  And this is not the prayer to help ourselves, but to help others.  The other part of this is that we  pray n good times and bad.  A lot of us have a  tenancy  to  pray only when things are going wrong in our own lives.  Let’s change that habit by praying for those around us when things are going right in our lives.

So put it all on, and stand strong in  the face of anything  that may come against you.  Always remember that you are in a spiritual battle, not of this world, and that the enemy is already defeated.  Hallelujah!

 

Am I In God’s Will?

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

In Jesus times, the servant was the person doing the work that was given to him by the master.  He may have been a servant that was bought, or a free will servant, but always a servant.  In today’s world, we have employees and bosses.  The positions have different names, but are nonetheless the same as in Jesus time.  As employees, we still have an obligation to work for a boss, and as a result we are, in essence, the servant and he is the master.

When we understand this, we understand how these next few verses apply to today.  we have an obligation to do what our bosses tell us to do with a determined purpose of making him look good.  This is not about whether he is a  good boss or a bad boss, whether he plays favorites or  not, whether he really has he ability to be the boss or not, or whether the task is too easy or too hard.  We have an obligation to do what he asks.  The fear and trembling part is not as much because he can fire  us at any time, it is because we should be doing this work as if Jesus is telling us to do it, not the boss.  Do the work as unto Christ – more on this coming up.

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

By all means, we should not do good work just to receive commendation for it, trying to please man.  This will only add to our pride, which we never want to do.  I am not saying that we should not accept those “good work” comments when they come – we need to acknowledge those with respect.  But out goal in working should not be to get those remarks – we should be doing the job to the best of our ability whether those comments come or not, and no matter how it looks to our fellow workers.  W should be doing that job from our heart, and always, always giving our best effort.

Why?  Because if we believe God is providing for us, than we should believe God placed us in that job,  And if God placed us in that job, when we should ultimately be working for Him, not just our bosses.  I know that you want to do your best for the Lord.  So do it in the workplace, and do it with all your might.  If you are a married, do your job as a husband or wife with the best of your ability as unto the Lord, not your spouse.  If you are unemployed, do all you are able to around the house for your children and spouse, as unto the Lord, not your family.  I could go on but I think you catch my point.  So many people wonder what the will of the Lord is for them.  This is a good place to start!

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

This verse speaks to anyone who has some kind of authority over another.  It can be a boss at a job, or a father in a family, or someone who hires and independent contractor do some work.  And it’s words are pretty straightforward.  Again, the golden rule is a gauge to live by in these relationships.  First he says to forbear threatening.  Forbear is defined as politely or patiently restraining an impulse to do something.   I can’t even begin to tell you how often I threatened to do some kind of punishment on my kids and did not follow through!  And I did this with employees as well.  I would definitely have been better off forbearing in a large majority of those cases.

There is a proper time for threatening though, and that’s when company policy is broken, or job performance is poor.  We should still do these things in love, as Christians, and we should never be respecter of one person over another.  All should be on a level playing field.  If we find ourselves disciplining one, and allowing another to do the same thing,, we are playing favorites.  This is wrong in God’s eyes.

Aren’t you glad God even gives us direction in employee/employer relations?  Imagine if these simple rules would be followed by every Christian, what a better world we would live in!  I think I’ll start to pray more about that!

 

A Heavenly Relationship

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

“As the Church is subject unto Christ!”  Let me see.  Christ ministered to the church and still does.  Christ cared so much for the church He gave His life.  Christ would never do anything to harm the church in any way.  Christ only wants to see the church grow and flourish in this age, and for ages to come.  Christ nurtures the church, instructs the church, provides for the church, sanctifies the church, protects the church, loves the church.  I would think any wife who has a husband that fulfills these things would  be happy to submit to him.

Submission does not mean subservient.  It does not mean she is the maid.  It does not mean the husband can run roughshod over her.  It will never mean he can harm her in any way – emotionally, physically or mentally.  Submit means that when a major disagreement comes up, the husband has the final say, as long as the interests of both parties are served by that decision.  The marriage as a whole needs to be the benefactor.  So If the argument is over buying a boat verses fixing a hole in the roof, the roof wins every time.  Sorry guys, your toys are not always important to the marriage as a whole. Yes, you guys are the  head of the marriage, but you  are not tyrants.  You are partners, and she is your helper.  If you are anything like me, you underestimate her ability to contribute. I am still learning  after 38 years just  how valuable she is in that role.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It always amazes me that three times the scripture says husbands should love their wives, but nowhere does it say wives should love their husbands.  I still do not have that figured out.  My only thought is that women have a natural compassion build into the, and most men need to be prodded to have that emotion come out.  Maybe it’s because men are more likely to be self-centered and prideful, and women are more likely to be others-centered and humble.

The admonition is to treat the women with the love Christ has for the4 church.  Men should treat their wives in a way that they will be glorious!  That there will not be a scar, emotional or physical, on their body or soul.  And that they would be holy and without blemish.  I wish I could go back in time and redo a lot of things in my marriage.  I have  done emotional harm to my wife in the past.  Yelling, accusations, mistrust and putting down was not uncommon, and I so regret it.  I have learned that she is my most valuable asset, and I honor her.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Just as we are members of Christs, body, flesh and bones, so is our wife members with us.  If she hurt, we should hurt.  If she has a concern, it should be our concern.  If she has plans, we should honor those plans.  If she has dreams, we should help her reach those dreams.  We should help her as we would help ourselves, treat her as we would want to be treated,  Hmmm…sounds a lot like the golden rule, doesn’t it?  She is a part of us.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

To  those men that still cling to their Mom’s, opinion, there mom’s cooking, their Dad’s idea of success, – anything of their parents before marriage, stop today and reset.  She is your wife now.  Your parents no longer should be making any decisions for your family.  You and your wife should make those decisions.  Same thing for the wives.  You cannot serve two masters!

Always Giving Thanks

Ephesians 5:18-21

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Let’s get this first thing out of the way quickly.  This verse does not say we should not drink wine.  It says to not get drunk with wine.  Paul tells Timothy a little wine for the stomach is a good thing (1 Tim 5:23).  I have seen a lot of contention in the church over wine or beer.  To me, it is a non-issue unless the person is overdoing it, which is clearly spoken against here.  Let’s not make a big deal  out of it.  For some, God may require total abstinence.  For others He may allow a sip here and there.  Who are we to judge what God will allow in someone else’s life?

The main point we need to gather here is that we are to be filled with the Spirit!  When the Holy Spirit fills us, we will walk as God wants us to walk.  The Spirit will convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment if we are walking contrary to God’s word (John 16:8-11).  But the main reason we should be filled with the Spirit is that the Spirit cries out to praise God and will lift us up to a higher level.  Notice in verse 19, Paul says we are to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  This is not worship to God.  This is uplifting talk to ourselves!  How many of you need a pick-me-up once in a while?  I do!  As I walk in the Spirit, He rises up within me and causes me to worship within myself to God.  You can be sure that will lift your own spirits to new heights.  I know it does for me!

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Always.  Not some of the time. Always.  Not only when I feel like it.  Always.  Not only when things are going right.  Always.  Give thanks always for all things.  All things.  Give thanks for all things.  You mean  am supposed to thank Him for the hard times and trials?  All things.  This is a hard concept to grasp and that is why I  am repeating it so much.  It is similar to Phil 4:4, where Paul tells us go rejoice in the Lord always.  If you missed my comments on that, you can read them HERE,

This is no misprint or mistake.  It’s easy to give thanks for the good times, when things are going right.  But understanding that the trials in life are there to help us grow, we can easily give thanks in the middle for them.  Thanks that God loves us enough to bring growing pains into our lives.  Thanks that we know He will bring us through anything that comes our way.  Thanks that He walks with us through the fire and through the storm.  Giving thanks always will free us from worry and doubt. Thanksgiving lifts our spirits above the doldrums  of life, and into heavenly places.

Practice giving thanks for all things.  You will quickly learn the benefits of this practice.

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

One to another.  No one is above another, except your Pastor.  And the Pastor is servant to all, as Jesus was.  Submitting does not mean we are subservient.  It does not mean we become second class citizens in the church.  It is simply that we acknowledge that all are equal and have the same rights to express their opinions and views.  All are important, from the elders all the way to the janitor.  It s so important that, if we hold a position on the church that is more visible, like elder or worship leader, that we never see ourselves as more important.  I’ve been there, and I never want to go back there.  Stay humble on your ministry, whatever it is.

Is Time On Your Side?

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

This world is very  deceitful.  It is very easy to hear someone say something that sounds oh, so good, only to find out that they are talking about something completely contrary to God’s word.  This happens a lot in what I call the “grace” churches.  They preach that God is a God of unlimited grace – which I totally agree with.  God’s grace will never run out, and He will lavish me with grace until my dying day.  He is just like that!  But then some of these churches go on from there, and never mention that we must turn from our sinful ways and not take God’s grace for granted.  Paul says “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid!” (Rom 6:1-2).  It is our calling that once we are saved, we turn from our sin.  Slips and falls will happen, but  to continue in unbridled sin is just wrong.

So Paul tells the Ephesian church to walk circumspectly – be cautious and wary of things around you.  We must not be foolish enough to allow false doctrine into our lives.  We must be wise and measure what anyone says against the scripture.  I feel the need to interject something on the scripture we use.  Newer translations are slowly doing away with sin, atonement and hell.  They picture a God who loves all (and He does) and provides a way of freedom for all (which he does) at no cost to us (which he does).  Why is this a problem?  Because first, it does not explain we must repent, or accept the gift, or turn from our sin.  It does not discuss the sentence of hell if we are disobedient.  It is a watered down, grace gospel that is a mere shadow of what God truly said.  Please take caution of what translation you are reading.

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

What do you do with your time?  Right now, I have time on my hands, since I am disabled and not working.  And it may be a while before I can get back to work.  That can be a problem for me if I don’t manage my time.  My mind will wander off to places it should not, and I can easily get caught up in behavior that I should not be involved in.  I need to keep my mind occupied!  So I have these blogs, which take a while each day to put together.  I am cataloging my poetry, which numbers over 1,000 poems, and starting to assemble it for eventual publishing.  I make the most of my time, and I always run out of time to get things done, it seems.

When  am healed of this cancer, and I am able to drive again and work again (by faith, I am believing this will come to pass), I will have  to be diligent in my time management.  I keep thinking that God has given me this time to work on the poetry and publishing it.  It’s a monumental task.  But when I am well, I will have to make the time to continue with at least one of my blogs,  plus get back into the swing of things around the house and at my job.  Redeeming the time is so important.  It is one commodity we all have the same amount of.  How do you redeem the time?

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

If we do not know what the will of the Lord is, we are unwise.  God clearly shows us His will in His word.  It is so important that we understand what God would have us do.  Here are a few things that God’s will entails.

Micah 6:8 says the Lord requires us to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.  If you really want to move closer to God, practice these three things in earnest.  Understanding these three things is a  key to understanding the will of God.

In Mark 16:15, Jesus tells us to  go into all the world and preach the gospel.  This is a mandate.  And we do not have to be pastors or evangelists to preach the gospel.  Our lives are our testimony.  You preach the gospel by the lifestyle you live, if you are living for God. Take every opportunity to share what God has done for you.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are just, pure, lovely, true, honest, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.  when we set our minds on these things, our actions will follow, and we will be in the middle of God’s will.

This is just a start.  Understanding the will of the Lord is as important as the air we breathe.  Do all you can to effectively walk circumspectly, redeem the time, and carry out His will.

 

 

As A Child

Ephesians 5:1-7

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Pure Life Ministries is summed up in verse 1.  “As dear children”.  I thought I really knew scripture inside and out and yet I was steeped in  sin, especially the sin of pride.  They counseled me to start looking at scripture differently.  I had read through the bible at least a dozen times, and studied all through out Old and New Testament.  But they said to try and imagine I was reading each verse for the very first time, as a child who never had heard those words before.  It was very difficult,, but I put my whole being into it.  And the words took on new meaning – they jumped off the page at me and shouted “This is the way”.  A new learning curve had begun.  I  could now walk in love, because I saw it so much more clearly.  I saw His love for me with a new understanding.  The sacrifice He gave took on greater meaning to me.

I encourage you to do the same.  Try to put aside any learning you may have had in  bible knowledge and read the word with fresh eyes, as if you’d never sen it before.  Take it in as a child takes in new truths, with amazement and awe.  Put aside any  pre-conceived ideas of what it says, and just read the words and ask God to revel it’s truth to you.  I think you will be in for a thrilling time!

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

There are certain things that Paul says should never be found in the church.  Fornication, which is sex outside of marriage basically.  This is on the rise in our society today, and should be a point of concern for all of us.  It’s not all that unusual for couples to have e=sex on the first date, and for them to have multiple partners.  It’s a scary scene to me, and totally against God’s law.

Uncleanness can deal with any part of our lives, but  want to concentrate on words.  I am amazed at the way  our language is used today.  It is atrocious in many cases.  There is no doubt our TV and Movie habits have been dumbed down when it comes to using proper language..  Words to songs can’t even be mentioned for so many “artists”.  The words are unclean, and it is permeating our society.  Make sure your words are in line with Phil. 4:8!

Covetousness – having a desire to own what is someone else’s, has also hit epic proportions.  Adultery is rampant and that is nothing but covetousness.  We hear of people breaking into homes, companies being unethical to gain an edge, even church secretaries who steal embezzle the church.  It’s a shoot out sometimes.  Filthiness, foolishness and jesting are next on his list.  Crude jokes, making fun of people, just not being serious when we should be.  So many things fit this description.

What should rule our lives?  The giving of thanks – that’s what.  Under all circumstances,, thanksgiving should rise to the top.  Thanksgiving should be our daily habit.  Thanksgiving should be what leaves our lips and goes into the atmosphere.  Thanks should be the cry of our heart.  Thank you Lord should be our song.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

He tells the Ephesian church that they know these people that are not thankful., but participate in all those other things, will not enter the Kingdom of Christ.  There may be some who will try and deceive them and make them believe that God will accept all into His kingdom, so Paul tells them not to be deceived by that.  There are those today who tell us grace covers it all, and you can live whatever type of life you want.  God loves you and you will go to heaven.  Well grace does cover it all, but Christ tells us to go and sin no more once we accept His forgiveness.  And we must do that to the best of our ability.  we are not to partake in those activities, but do all we can to live holy and righteously before God.  That is our calling!

 

 

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

My words are important.  Everything I say has an affect. either on me or on the people around me.  I must be aware of how those words affect other people all the time.  In our world today, it seems people don’t think much about this.  Once the words leave our lips, it is too late – the damage is done.  So we have to think about what we are going to say before we say it.  Now there’s a novel idea!  Paul says we should not  let corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth.

The word corrupt here is translated bad or unwholesome in other places in the New Testament.  The underlying meaning is that it is rotten and of no value.  When our words are demeaning and derogatory, they fit this description.  Gossip fits this description.  Backbiting fits this description.  When we put someone down, criticize them, make others feel less about someone – all of these things would be corrupt communication.  We have no business using words that do these things.

What we should be saying are things that build people up.  Words that help them to have a good day, to see God in the midst of their day, to see the grace of God working for them.  Our job is to minister grace to those around us with our words.  We should always be gentle and caring, loving and graceful with out words.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Sometimes I get really dumb.  I hurt my wife more with my words than anyone else alive.  I just say stupid things sometimes, and don’t even realize I said it.  Ans she is grieved by that.  And when I hurt her, I hurt.  I just want to crawl in a hole and cry sometimes, because I hurt her.

If we hurt others in our church, or other Christians with our words, we grieve the Holy Spirit.  I know that is something I don’t want to do – ever.  The Holy Spirit is so precious to me.  When I am worshiping and he comes into my place  of worship, it is such a sweet time.  I never want the Holly Spirit to be grieved and not want to be around me, for any reason.  He is the one  who keeps me safe from harm, and He has sealed me until Christ returns.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

So Paul gives us a list of things to get rid of, and  things to keep doing.  I think this is great.  God does not eave us guessing. He spells it right out for us.  So let’s quickly look over these two lists.

Put away bitterness – this can only be done with forgiveness.  Typically, we start to allow bitterness in our lives when we harbor a grudge, or when someone has offended us.  Get over it, and make it right.  Bitterness is a bad thing, and it only hurts you.

Put away wrath and anger.  I see some people who just seem mad all the time.  They are never pleased with anything and always complaining.   Don’t be that person – put that away.

Put away clamor – being loud and obnoxious.  this kind of talk has no place in a Christian.

Put away evil speaking – you should NEVER say anything bad about anybody else.  NEVER

Put away malice – be kind, don’t talk about getting revenge or doing harm to others.

And how should we be?  Kind, tenderhearted  ad forgiving, just like God is with us.  He’s only asking us to do what he did for us.  Certainly, we can do that!

Before the Sun Goes Down

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

The very first thing Paul wants to address now that the new man has begun forming in you is your tongue.  I find that interesting.  Of all the parts of the body that he could have mentioned here, he chose the tongue.  He has already told  us to be renewed in our mind, and now the tongue must follow.

I’m not sure about you, but my  tongue was just plain nasty before I got saved.    so I was a master at every swear word in the book, and I also had a very quick wit.  I would cut people down so quickly they would’t know what hit them.  Kind of a Don Rickles thing, I guess.  But I was nasty for that.  I was also a pretty negative person, and did not speak life much.  God needed to work on  my tongue.

II went back to attending the church where I grew up after I got saved.  I talked to the pastor about the change in my life, and we started meeting weekly for counseling.  I’ll call it more like mentoring.  He worked on my tongue, my attitude and my demeanor.  He was a tremendous help to me in my first two years as a Christian.  My tongue, for  he most part, was tamed.  Lying, swearing, backbiting, putting down – all mostly gone.  Praise the Lord!

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

There is nothing wrong with being angry about something  It’s a human emotion that God has put within us to help us express ourselves.  But when we hold onto anger, and don’t work on calming it down, then we sin.  Paul tells us not to sin.  Take care of that anger right away. He’s not talking about hitting a wall or throwing a dish at the object of your anger.  He’s talking about making the wrong right.  If we are angry, there is a cause for it, and we need to get to the cause and fix it.

Two different things can happen.  The first is that someone offends us, makes us angry.  Jesus said, in Matt 18:15-17, we are to go them and let them know they offended us.  That is a hard thing to  do, but that’s what He asks of us.  If they do not acknowledge the hurt, you take a couple of witnesses and go again.  If they still do not, you take it before the church.  All of these steps take courage and conviction, but it will help all involved if done correctly.

The second is that we have offended someone.  If we find out that we have offended someone, than we are asked to go to them, even before we bring an offering to the Lord, and for their forgiveness. (Matt 5:23-24). Notice in both cases it is our responsibility – my responsibility.  None of this “Well, he offended me so he should apologize.”  We give place to the devil when we don’ act on it ourselves.  Let’s not do that.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

I would guess most of you reading this do not steal, and may not have before you got saved  Remember that Paul is explaining steps to take once the new man has been revealed in us.  While  it may not apply right now.  The important thing to remember is that we are to work, and not live off other people.  What he is talking about is people living off other people when they should be working.  Paul calls that stealing.  All of us need to make our ow way in this world if we are able..  we should not take advantage of other people when we can  make it on our own. I hope and pray none of you are doing that.

Time For A Change!

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

If I have heard Him, and been taught by Him, then it’s time.  I should not wait any longer. He is the truth, and He can not lie.  It’s time for me to put away the old things in my life, and all the corrupt thoughts and lust of my past.  Put it away for good.  We all know that’s easier said than done, right?  It seems just when I get my head clear f that baggage, it pops back up again.  Then I feel like I’m stuck on stupid, as my friend says.

Here’s what I see as a key way to get that old man put behind me.  Ignore him.  Every time those bad thoughts come wandering my way, just ignore them and focus on God.  If I spend my time worried that the old thoughts are back, I just give them a place in my head. So when they come rushing in, and they will, I just don’t fret or stew about it, I go about my business and praise God, focusing on the praise instead of the delusion in my mind.  Once I can master that, the thoughts will eventually fade away and become irrelevant.  I believe they will always come.   It’s how I cope with them that matters.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

I need to renew my mind  Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  This is so critical once we have been born again.  Our minds need to be put right,  We have been in the world for so many years (I got saved when I was 24) and that old worldly mindset needs to go.  The mind has such power over he rest of our body and soul.  If we can be renewed in the spirit of our mind, the  rest will follow.  And that is done through reading and studying the word, getting grounded in a good church where we can fellowship with other believers, and learning how to pray and praise.

The new man is created in righteousness and holiness.  Those that think they can get saved and just go about their merry little lives the same way they were before being saved are deceived.  It is very clear in this passage that God asks us to change.  We should not be the same person after we accept Christ, if we have taken the time to learn Him, hear Him and be taught  by Him, as our first verse says.  His desire is to bring us to the place where we take His love to a lost and dying world.  And we can only do that effectively when the old man is gone, and the new man has taken up residence.  Has he come  alive within you?